The brilliance of our human capacity to create something out of nothing is spellbinding. You are already participating in such a feat, and you probably don’t even know it. This video opened my eyes to the re-CAPTCHA project, and its mission,

“Stop spam, read books.”

You know CAPTCHA: those squiggly passwords you have to retype in the comment section of my blog and millions like it.

When you type that second word, you’re actually helping to digitize a word that a computer scanner couldn’t read on its own. Essentially, your using the power of CAPTCHA (not letting computer spammers recognize a password) to help a computer recognize a word it is attempting to legitimately scan, but can’t read, in a printed story. You are playing an integral role in digitize the world’s library…one word at a time.

Talking about doing something amazing by simply executing one of the most banal activities you can imagine.

Here’s a cool example: Currently, 400,000,000 unsuspecting online users have helped digitize the entire New York Times library (with printed editions starting in 1851 to 1980) as they used re-CAPTCHA. This project, with the help of six percent of the world through their everyday use of re-Captcha, will be finished in less than a year.

How can you multiply the minute efforts of the masses to make a world of difference? Leave me a comment, and digitize a word.